Whatever one’s religious position, one cannot but view the more “heroic” defences of Islam against the Pope’s recent comments as being supremely ironic. “We’re not violent, and we’ll bloody kill you if you say we are!” Please! Where is their faith in God? Is He incapable of defending their beliefs if they are attacked? Does He really need such all-too-human intervention?
Look, let’s face it. The Pope is not infallible. Whatever the dogma, that in fact is the belief of millions of Catholics; especially he is not infallible when addressing some German audience while not speaking ex cathedra. Probably all Catholics subscribe to that view, if they think about it, because that at least is perfectly orthodox. So even the very Catholic Gerard Henderson can say:
IT’S just a week since, for a day at least, Pope Benedict XVI reverted to being Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. On September 12 the Pope addressed the University of Regensburg in southern Germany, where he had once been vice-president and held the chair of dogmatics and the history of dogma…
His speech attracted scant attention initially. After a couple of days, some Muslim leaders began to attack it. Soon, Palestinian Muslims were burning the churches of Christian Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza. Not long after, a website of the Mujahideen Army threatened it would “smash the crosses in the house of the dog from Rome”. All this in response to an essentially academic dissertation which had declared that violence is incompatible with the nature of God. Some Muslim leaders, however, confined their attacks to the verbal…
[On another occasion] The Pope indicated his position on May 15 when he said “the importance of reciprocity in dialogue” between Catholics and Muslims “is more and more evident”. He maintained that Christian minorities in Muslim countries should be given the same rights which Muslims generally enjoy in Western countries. A fair point, surely – whether made by a theologian or a pope. Or both.
Again I refer all sides to the eminently wise Lebanese expatriate Amin Maalouf, and commend the Zen saying “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” See also Killing the Buddha (99% fatwa-free).
In the interests of fairness, I have added the image on the right, which I borrowed from The Kashmiri Nomad.